14-06-2019

OCU warns Filaret of possible excommunication for holding UOC-KP council

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine representatives emphasize that Filaret has no right to convoke such an assembly on his own behalf and call it a 'Council'. This is reported by ZN.

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine has officially warned Patriarch Emeritus Filaret that holding the “Local Council” of the dissolved Kyiv Patriarchate would mean a split. The official statement also warns that the participants of such a 'Council' will be excommunicated.

“Patriarch Emeritus” Filaret has no right to convoke on his own behalf the “Local Council of the UOC-KP” either under the Charter of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, or under the Charter of the dissolved UOC-KP. The voluntary and non-statutory conduct of an assembly of a group of unauthorized persons -- such assembly being referred to as the Council -- will constitute the church split and the secession of organizers and participants of such meetings from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine with all canonical and legal consequences,” the statement warns.

The OCU has reminded that last year the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate ceased its activities as a separate religious association. After the decision of the Local Council of the UOC-KP, which took place on December 18, 2018, the Kyiv Patriarchate joined the newly-established OCU.

Filaret announced that he had decided to convoke the Local Council of the Kyiv Patriarchate -- which was no longer in existence on June 20 -- to prove that it “has existed, still exists and will exist”. At the same time, he noted that he did not recognize the Tomos of autocephaly of the OCU, since he had not been familiarized with his text [before signing it].

In May, Filaret stated in his appeal that his rejection of the status of the patriarchate at the Local Council in December 2018 does not mean anything, and that, allegedly, no one dissolved the Kyiv Patriarchate.

Analysts say that since the OCU was set up, a confrontation for influence in the Church has evolved between Epifaniy and Filaret. In particular, Patriarch Emeritus Filaret is not satisfied with his symbolic status and is trying to get a decisive influence on the life of the Church. In an invitation to honor the memory of the Hieromartyr Macarius printed on the letterheads of the UOC-KP, he tried to verify the number of hierarchs who could support his idea of ​​restoration of the UOC-KP. At the same time, after the scandal broke out, a number of eparchies of the OCU made open statements in support of Epifaniy.

On May 10, the Primate of the OCU, Metropolitan Epifaniy said that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Kyiv Patriarchate legally ceased to exist in the course of the Unification Council of December 15, 2018 and its restoration is tantamount to loss of the Tomos.

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